AVRS slams suit against Transcorp Hilton
Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS), Nigeria’s sole collective management organisation for audio-visual works (films, movies and drama), has filed a copyright infringement action against Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
According to the lawsuit filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja on October 25, 2021 by copyright lawyer, Justin Ige Esq of Creative Legal, AVRS is praying for the award of about a billion naira in unpaid royalties and damages against Transcorp Hilton Hotel for the unauthorised copying, communication to the public, public performance and violation of copyright in audio-visual works belonging to AVRS members, affiliates and assignors.
Speaking on the development, AVRS Chairman, Mr. Mahmood Ali-Balogun said: “We have been very patient with users. We have demonstrated high level of civility. We have been strategic and thoughtful in our approach. We have even gone to them pleading that they do the right thing. Rather than reciprocate our kind gestures and respect the intellectual property of our creators and members, Transcorp Hilton Hotel has continued to infringe on the copyright of our members.
Their lawyer even told us that their clients do not watch movies/films in their hotel rooms. So, they left us with no choice but bring the full weight of the law on them. Copyright is property and anyone who must deploy our creative contents in their facilities must pay for it.”
Also speaking on the development, AVRS Acting General Manager, Mrs. Olubukola Adeyemi, said: “We are not joking. We are 100 per cent committed to exercising the mandate given to us by the law and our members. We will ensure that all commercial or public users of audiovisual works comply with the law.”
Reacting, Nollywood veteran and AVRS director, Prince Jide Kosoko said: “Monkey cannot be working and baboon is busy chopping and getting fat from the sweat of the monkey. Our films and movies are our creations and intellectual property. And for any hotel, broadcaster, restaurant, lounges and salons to use them, they must pay and compensate us for them. That is what AVRS stands for.”
It will be recalled that recently, AVRS members picketed one of the most prominent hotel brands in Lagos, Radisson Blu, following its failure to comply with the extant copyright law. The hotel has since resolved the matter, complying with its copyright obligation to AVRS.
Also, others such as Eko Hotel & Suites, Sheraton Hotels, Federal Palace Hotels, Marriott Hotels, Southern Sun Hotels, Wheat Baker Hotels, etc have not failed to meet their copyright obligations to AVRS.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.